Here’s a two-part question for you. Pencils at the ready, please.
Up first – Are you enjoying the actual process of writing your script?
Sure, we all like “having written”, but what about getting there?
Do you get a thrill from figuring out your story? Mapping out the plot? Developing characters and crafting dialogue?
Do you get so engrossed and involved in your writing that when you check the time, you discover a lot more time has passed than you thought?
If you’re really excited and enthusiastic about your script, you’re going to feel that way even before you start writing it.
Now for the second part of the question:
Is all the aforementioned excitement and enthusiasm evident on the pages of your script? Could someone read it and think “Wow, they really like this stuff.”?
While it’s often said that you can gauge a writer’s grasp of the craft just by looking at the first page, you can also tell if they’re really into their story by how it reads.
Does it grab you from the get-go? Is the tone of the writing a solid match for the tone of the genre? This is not a case when “good enough” will cut it. What would you think if you read a horror that was “sort of” scary, or a comedy where all the jokes fall flat?
You want the reader to be as thoroughly entertained as you were in putting it together. You want them to be as compelled to keep turning the page as you’d be if you were reading it yourself.
A lot of the time you’ll hear a writer wrote something because “they had a story they had to tell”. That story was so strong and powerful inside them, they had no alternative but to write it out.
As creative types, that level of excitement and enthusiasm exists in all of us. We’re all eager to tap into it, but need to take the time to learn how to do it properly so it can be done in the most effective way possible.
The Chinese restaurant script got the standard “Just isn’t what I’m looking for” response from a producer.
Years of experience has taught me how to properly respond to this kind of situation.
“Well, that sucks. Okay. Moving on.”
Thus the struggle continues to gain a new foothold on this constant uphill climb. But I’m in it for the long haul.
Sure, it’s frustrating to get yet another “no” about a script, but getting upset about it won’t do me any good.
And what better way to get over it than by working on something else with the intent of making this one that much better? And there are plenty of something elses to keep me occupied.
A revamping of the outline of an older script continues, with pleasantly productive results (along with some phenomenal feedback on the logline). More insightful notes have come in for the comedy spec. Setting up a few more get-to-know-you meetings with other local writers*.
(*A meeting last week with one writer about her current project resulted in me being able to offer up some suggestions to another writer feeling frustrated about his. He, in turn, felt very encouraged with a renewed sense of hope, and was excited about some possible new avenues to try. I’m just happy to help.)
Hearing “thanks, but no thanks” still stings, but only for the briefest of moments. It’s taken a very long time for me to get to this point.
A few months ago, all that pressure I’d been putting on myself just went away. And I’m a lot better for it now.
Success will happen when it happens.
But having it happen sooner rather than later would still be much appreciated.
Over the past couple of days, as notes for the low-budget comedy spec were being compiled, I considered jumping right in to the rewrite, but instead opted to take a break and put it on the back burner for now. It’s been the focus of my attention for a while, and I didn’t want to risk burning out on it.
No big deal. All of the material will still be there when I get back to it.
So what now? Work on another script, natch.
But which one?
I just didn’t have it in me to work on the few that were still in plot-development stage, nor did my brain feel totally ready to tackle assembling the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the mystery-comedy.
Since I’ve been on a bit of a low-budget kick, I delved into my stash of long-ignored stories to see if there was a suitable candidate.
And I found one. A comedy I haven’t worked on for a good number of years that would make for another great low-budget production.
It had gone through several better-than-I-remembered drafts of the outline, each one with elements similar to the others, but also with its own uniqueness. Looking them over, there’s a lot of material to work with and develop into a new version.
Plus, it’s a fun story, which is always enjoyable.
(Moral of the story – never throw anything away.)
Working on the previous comedy spec also helped boost my confidence regarding my comedic writing skills. It’s not perfect, but better than it was. There were already some good jokes among these earlier drafts, and coming up with new material is still somewhat of a challenge, but not as daunting.
So the next couple of weeks will be all about combining, editing and fine-tuning this story, and then cranking out some actual pages.